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Online security ‘paramount’ for shoppers

A sense of security is paramount for nearly one quarter of shoppers when evaluating whether to purchase goods from a retailer online, according to a new survey from Worldpay, a payments provider.

Assuring customers they are in safe hands throughout the entire payment experience should be a priority for retailers, according to 3500 online shoppers polled globally.

Similarly, for one in four online shoppers, seeing payment authentication and digital certificate logos displayed prominently on a retail site’s homepage is the single most reassuring element in the purchasing process. Forty-six per cent of consumers globally admit this would help address their concerns.

Transparency around online security is particularly important in China, where 70 per cent of shoppers said they feel more secure shopping when payment authentication and certificate logos are clearly displayed, indicating that this simple measure will go a long way in addressing the misgivings of online customers.

Shoppers also want security transparency when retailers store personal and payment details. Thirty-one per cent of shoppers worldwide say they don’t want a retail website to store their payment details, and South Koreans and Australians are most averse to the idea with over 50 per cent saying they don’t want this information stored online. In China and Japan, 65 per cent of shoppers expect reassurance that their details will be kept safe by the retailer and want a clear explanation of how this will be done.

Stuart Thornton, VP of business development in APAC with Worldpay, said: “Nagging doubts about the security of their payment details can add up over the multiple stages of the purchasing journey for shoppers and stop them from ever clicking ‘buy’, even if they really want a product. When selling online, retailers need to step in and reassure customers that their information is in safe hands, from the second they start browsing a site to the moment they receive an email confirming their purchase”.

At checkout, shoppers expect the ability to use their preferred payment method and want the process to be simple and intuitive. Sixty-five per cent globally have abandoned their purchase at the checkout stage as a result of not being able to pay how they wish.

Nearly 60 per cent of shoppers worldwide would drop out of a purchase if their preferred payment method was displayed on a retail site’s homepage but wasn’t available at checkout. Forty per cent of shoppers globally admit they would not take the time to look for their preferred payment method at checkout if it was not easy to find. This figure is even higher in Japan, where 62 per cent of shoppers say they wouldn’t search for their preferred payment method if it wasn’t already clearly indicated on the website.

Retailers must also manage consumer expectations by clearly indicating what they can expect at each stage of the payments journey, particularly when redirecting them to a third-party website. Ninety-four per cent of shoppers globally say this is important, and one-fifth would instantly drop a transaction if ushered to a third-party site without warning. In Japan, nearly 30 per cent of shoppers would drop out if unexpectedly redirected to a third-party site to enter additional details.

“Purchasing products online demands a certain level of trust between retailers and shoppers, and making the process simple and transparent is absolutely essential,” said Thornton.

“Retailers will struggle to inspire confidence in their customers if they cannot deliver on shoppers’ expectations and give them peace of mind throughout the online shopping journey”.

The need for retailers to act as a source of reassurance for shoppers is equally strong when it comes to handling errors or providing customer support. Nearly two-thirds of online shoppers (64 per cent) want a clear and immediate explanation of exactly what went wrong. When it comes to additional support, 27 per cent want to be able to call customer support, while 24 per cent want the option to email a support representative.

Clear error messages also head off any potential confusion as to whether a transaction has been processed. Ninety-six per cent of shoppers say it is important they receive an email confirming that their order has been processed and their payment accepted.

Adds Thornton: “If there is one thing to take away from these findings it is that the online payments journey is inextricably linked to the user experience. If retailers cannot reassure customers that their transaction will be quick, secure, and managed to the highest standard of professionalism throughout the payment journey they will struggle to keep shoppers engaged”.

The research was carried out in partnership with KAE Marketing Intelligence, which conducted a desktop analysis of 350 top retail sites and surveyed 3500 online shoppers in 14 countries across North America, South America, EMEA, and APAC.

Find the full report here.

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